Aquaponic Gardening

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My 100 gallon system has been cycling for two days now. Nitrate and nitrite levels almost zero. Ammonia level almost zero. Ph level at 7.6. Fish I'm going to initially use in the system come from same level ph where they've been for about the past five years or so. Water temperature is approximately 82 degrees F. System is in a greenhouse here in middle Georgia USA. I was intending on introducing some warm weather seeds later this week. I've read the book "Aquaponics Gardening." Any comments or advice would be most welcome and appreciated. Thanks.

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I've been doing aquaponics for about a year now. Here is what I recommend. Toss in the seeds (in some sort of order) and add some cheap feeder goldfish, maybe 20 or so. Watch and wait. The goldfish may/will die but as they stop dying you'll know it's safe for more important fish. They'll also provide the ammonia you need for cycling. Feed them all they'll eat for better results. You'll get more expert advice from others here but sometimes it just gets confusing. Bottom line... you have to wait for the cycling for 6-7 weeks but plants will start to grow sooner. I do the KISS method. Be patient!

The downside to the cheap feeder goldfish is that you increase your chances of introducing disease into your system. Feeder goldfish are considered expendable, so they aren't raised in the greatest conditions. Doesn't mean you can't use them, but it does mean you're taking more of a chance.

You can also just add some fish food, or some road kill, grass clippings, leftover lasagna, or the neighbor's yapping dog; anything that will rot. When it rots, it produces ammonia, and cycling begins. Just don't add more volume than would be a modest amount of fish food for a young tank, or it will spike ammonia and slow the whole process. Also, don't add any more until initial laod is gone and ammonia has subsided. Have fun.

If your NH4 is almost zero then you aren't adding much input for the bacteria you want to cultivate into nitrites and then nitrates. You're kind of at a standstill.

A lot of people disagree, but I like just throwing a few fish in from the go. If you've ever set up a fish tank in your house, it's the same thing. Use care, measure the NH4 twice a day, be aggressive about water changes until the nitrifying bacteria take, and your fish should do fine. If you lose a few fish, even half, chalk it up to the cost of doing business.

Agree about the cheap goldfish - you never know what you're getting at the pet store. APs are much more cautious and reliable about water and pathogens, and are a better source for fish even if it costs a bit more.

Quarantine is a good practice, especially with feeders.  A salt dip is a good idea too which will kill most exeternal parasites.

I did a hospital tank to weed out the infected ones before they ended up in my system.  I recommend that for any addition to an ecosystem.


Alex Veidel said:

The downside to the cheap feeder goldfish is that you increase your chances of introducing disease into your system. Feeder goldfish are considered expendable, so they aren't raised in the greatest conditions. Doesn't mean you can't use them, but it does mean you're taking more of a chance.

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